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Museum, libraries and other venues offer exhibits and events for kids and teens in San Francisco. Interactive science and technology exhibits and workshops are plentiful, with ongoing learning opportunities to engage young minds all year long.
Explorables: Handmade Science
Embarcadero at Green St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
Date: Saturday, Aug. 15, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; included with museum admission
With a newly opened larger facility on Piers 15 and 17, the Exploratorium is better than ever. This eye-opening, mind-boggling array of scientific-meets-social interaction exhibits offer wondrous, playful and inspiring exhibits and hands on projects to do just about anything to shake up your everyday world. As a global leader in informal education, learning is painless and totally fun here. Kids will find lots of ways to excite their minds and keep their fidgeting hands busy. Explorables: Handmade Science, Chromatography, Spectroscopes, and Light Boxes uses commonplace materials to create all sorts of models and tools for exploring the everyday world around us. This drop-in workshop exhibit, included with museum admission, combines timeless activities with participants’ intuition, leading to scientific insights. All materials are included and the kids take home what they make. Check the website for special rates for Bay Area residents.
221 Fourth St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
The Children’s Creativity Museum is a first-rate art and technology museum whose mission is to nurture all things creative in youth and their families. The museum aims to cultivate 21st century skills, identified as “creativity, collaboration and communication,” in its visitors that inspire original ideas for novel solutions. Kids have a great time as they explore, learn and engage with others. While the Children’s Creativity Museum is particularly fitting for children aged 4 years and up, younger toddlers will have a lot to enjoy, too. A good fit for all is the Music Studio where kids, and adults, can select a song and become a solo act in front of a their own chosen background, or the Animation Studio to learn stop motion animation basics. In addition to the engaging labs, studios and galleries, upcoming events present recurring exhibits and workshops that cross a wide range of interests, including Robot Coding, where children get an introduction to computer coding; Brain Teasers, an interactive exhibit to stretch kids creative thinking; the Barber of Seville, a child-friendly introduction to opera, and Mystery Box Challenge, where kids get prompted to invent something completely new. Wow! Check the website for these and many other upcoming fun, fascinating and futuristic events.
55 Music Concourse Drive
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118
The California Academy of Sciences is an amazing one-of-a-kind learning emporium. The Academy is filled with exhibits highlighting earth, sea and solar science, with planetarium shows, aquarium and earth creature exhibits, and endless hands-on activities. One of many favorites leads young inquiring minds on a fun exploration in Junior Scientist Adventure. This recurring event is a must-see exhibit that allows kids to become scientists for a day. Kids get all the tools and activities they will need packed inside a cool science backpack given FREE with admission to every little visitor. Backpacks are distributed from museum opening until 4 p.m., on a first-come, first-served basis. Check the website calendar for upcoming dates for the Junior Scientist Adventure.
77 Steuart St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Dates: Trolley Excursions, July 19, Aug. 1, Oct. 17, 2015; tickets: $40/person
The Railway Museum is part of the Market Street Railway, a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve historic transit in San Francisco. Founded in 1976, the organization is 1000 members strong and advocates for the historic streetcars and cable cars that are as iconic as the city’s many hills and, along with the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, have come to represent San Francisco. The Railway Museum uniquely allows visitors to ride vintage transit in its “natural habitat” — the classic old-time car itself. With vintage and replica cars from around the globe, as well as classics from San Francisco, the San Francisco Railway Museum is an exiting twist on taking kids to the museum. Kids of all ages will enjoy discovering what it was like to be at the controls of these old cars, or the experience of riding inside with the rumble of the motors, the smell of the brakes and the swaying of the bumpy rides. Truly a “museum on wheels,” kids can see historic artifacts, informative displays, archival photographs and audio-visual exhibits that combine 19th and 20th century transportation experiences with 21st century technology.
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Dates: Main and branch library events are ongoing through August 14; FREE
There are always new things happening for kids at the San Francisco Library. Summer Stride 2015 promotes the joy of reading for kids and teens with separate reading lists and reading-based incentives for the age groups, including badges young readers can earn as they complete a “things to do” list that includes sharing reading lists and creating a virtual avatar. Visit the website to join Summer Stride. Upcoming events through the summer include ongoing library branch specific happenings, such as Lego Club with Legos provided for free-play, Bike Fix-It Workshops, Family Film afternoons, enjoying the funny antics of Boswick the Clown, stuffed animal storytime and sleepover, plus other kid and family-friendly events. Click here for the calendar of events.